A rare and large gilt-lacquered bronze figure of Mahasthamaprapta, Ming dynasty (368-1644)

Lot 511. A rare and large gilt-lacquered bronze figure of Mahasthamaprapta, Ming dynasty (368-1644); 23in (58.5cm) high. Estimate: US$20,000 - US$30,000. Sold for US$ 52,575 (€ 46,325) inc. premium. © Bonhams 2001-2019

Heavily cast in great detail, portrayed seated in dhyanasana, the left hand in vitakamudra and the right in dhyanamudra, the palms of both hands and the soles of the feet incised with the 'wheel of the Buddhist law', dressed in loose robes with elaborate lotus scroll borders, open at the chest to reveal a necklace suspending a floral pendant and multiple beaded chains, the full face with a serene expression and downcast eyes framed by a foliate tiara centered with a kundika and elaborate earrings, the hair dressed in a curled topknot surmounted by a jewel and tied tresses falling over the shoulders

NoteThe kundika in the headdress identifies the figure as the bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta. In Chinese Pure Land Buddhism, Mahathamaprapta is often depicted with Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin) on either side of Amitabha Buddha. The bodhisattva's name means the arrival of great strength, and while Avalokiteshvara is the personification of Amitabha's compassion, Mahasthamaprapta represents the power of Amitabha's wisdom.

Figures of this size are rare. For examples of two similar but smaller bronze bodhisattva figures, see Denise Patry Leidy, Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art,, 2010, p.183, nos. A56 and A57

Bonhams. Chinese Works of Art, New York, 18 March 2019